Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Christian Ugo Delighted to Soldier on in Land of Lions; Quins Wing Monye Is Over-Joyed at His Call-Up, Though He Admits He'll Miss Absent Friends

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Christian Ugo Delighted to Soldier on in Land of Lions; Quins Wing Monye Is Over-Joyed at His Call-Up, Though He Admits He'll Miss Absent Friends

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Jones

UGO MONYE is delighted to be cast as a Christian thrown into the Lions' Den and is relishing a unique opportunity to take his faith to South Africa this summer.

The Harlequins wing, who is driven in life by his strong beliefs, has won only six caps with England and was stunned to discover yesterday that he will be part of the Lions squad for the three-Test tour: "When I heard the news it was the best day of my life," he said. "Normally I am not lost for words, but I was when I heard about my selection. I am thrilled and proud and how ironic that a Christian will be playing for the Lions rather than being eaten by one! "I am so excited to be getting on the plane with the Lions and my family will follow, to watch the tour. I was really anxious on Monday night before the tour party was announced and spoke to my mother who sent me a psalm to read which calmed me down.

It gave me some peace and I decided to leave it to the Big Man and he came through again for me." The 25-year-old, one of the quickest wings in rugby, has needed his faith to deal with the danger that a long-standing back problem could have ruined his career. Having overcome severe pain to burst onto the international scene last November, Monye was struck down again in the Six Nations before battling back to remind everyone about his natural pace and try scoring power.

Now, the Lions want him to be one of their attacking spearheads against the world champions and Monye can't wait to experience Test rugby away from Twickenham, where he has won all of his caps after injury ruled him out of games in Cardiff and Dublin.

He said: "It has been strange only playing Test rugby down the road from my home at Twickenham Stadium -- now I will finally get the chance to experience international rugby away from London."

Monye was with his club-mates at their training ground preparing for Saturday's final regular season Guinness Premiership match with Newcastle when the players trooped into the team room to see the Lions squad announcement live. …

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